(© picture-alliance/dpa)


  132 Debates

The number of people going hungry as a result of the measures to contain the pandemic has risen dramatically. At the same time farmers all over the world are unable to offload their products due to disruptions in production processes and supply chains as well as decreasing demand. The crisis is highlighting the interdependencies in the food supply chain, prompting reflection on inadequacies and new solutions.

Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban is in trouble after a photograph emerged showing him and members of his cabinet at a party in the government building smoking and drinking alcohol and not wearing protective masks. Orban immediately turned himself in after the picture became public and paid a fine of over 500 euros. This won't repair the damage to his image and credibility, commentators write.

On Tuesday evening Hungary ended the state of emergency which had allowed Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree since the end of March. The EU Commission had taken a critical view of the move. While the pro-government press is satisfied, opposition media see no cause for relief.

Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right Brazilian president, has repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as a "little flu" and described the pandemic as a "media trick". Now Brazil is considered the new hotspot, with more than 25,000 dead and almost 500,000 registered cases of infection. Commentators describe how Bolsonaro's populist policies are making the crisis even worse.

After being forced to close as a result of the pandemic, concert venues, cinemas, theatres and exhibitions have all been in crisis and are still facing severe restrictions on visitors. Commentators call on the state to provide effective support for the revival of the cultural industry after lockdown.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is standing by his chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who is under fire for repeatedly violating the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Cummings travelled across the country with his family during the lockdown. Many members of the British public are now accusing their government of double standards, but commentators are divided.

All Europe's governments have now relaxed the restrictions imposed to slow the spread of Covid-19 to varying degrees. Experts are debating whether and to what extent this could lead to a second wave of infections. Commentators reflect on what life will be like with the virus in the coming months.

With the lockdown regulations due to be further relaxed in Hungary this Monday, the social consequences of the coronavirus crisis are now coming into focus. According to official figures 56,000 people in the country lost their jobs in March, and more than half of its companies suffered a drop in turnover of at least 30 percent. Hungarian media discuss how to help marginalised groups.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden are opposing the reconstruction plan put forward by Merkel and Macron, which includes debt mutualisation among EU states. On the weekend the four states presented a counter-proposal that puts a two-year limit on coronavirus emergency aid and foresees cheap loans rather than grants for the worst-hit states. Is this a more sensible plan?

Germany plans to invest nine billion euros in Lufthansa to get it through the coronavirus crisis. The state will take a 20-percent stake in the group but the rescue plan also provides for loans and silent partnerships in the airline. The state's stake will not be large enough to directly block decisions. Commentators nevertheless debate whether this intervention goes too far.

Spain's left-wing minority government under Socialist Prime Minister Sánchez is having increasing difficulties securing a majority in parliament for prolonging the state of emergency coronavirus measures. The government had promised to cancel its predecessors' labour market reform in exchange for the abstention of six MPs from the Basque separatist party (Bildu) in the next vote, but then just a few hours later the cabinet backpaddled. Is this what a stable government looks like?

With the strawberry harvest time coming up, a debate about employing seasonal workers has flared up in Estonia. Despite the calls of farmers and unlike in neighbouring countries, the government is still refusing to let harvest workers into the country due to the risk of infection. The national press criticises this stance and suspects that the far-right government party Ekre's ideological motives are behind it.

Over 100 children born to surrogate mothers are currently stranded in Ukraine because their new parents are not allowed to enter the country due to the pandemic. Using the services of surrogate mothers in Ukraine is a popular option for many Western European couples who can't have their own child, also because of the low costs. Media criticise the way the surrogate mothers are being treated not just in the current crisis.

Germany and France want the EU Commission to earmark 500 billion euros for reconstruction in EU member states after the coronavirus crisis. The fund would be financed with shared EU loans. The plan requires the endorsement of all 27 member states, but countries in Northern and Eastern Europe in particular are critical. What are the arguments for the plan, and what are its chances of being implemented?

In the US presidential election on November 3, Democratic challenger Joe Biden, ex-vice president under Barack Obama, will face Republican incumbent Donald Trump. The election campaign has so far been overshadowed by Covid-19, which has claimed more victims in the US than any other country. Against this background, what are the two candidates' chances?

The CEO of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, Paul Hudson, caused indignation by saying that if the company succeeds in creating an effective coronavirus vaccine the US will likely have first access because of its financial support for Sanofi's research. Although Hudson has since backed down, manufacturers and politicians alike are facing the question of health and fairness.

Airlines plan to gradually to resume their flights to Estonia. However, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs has banned scheduled flights from Sweden, the UK, Belgium, Turkey, Russia and Belarus - countries where the government believes there is a high risk of Covid-19 infection. Estonian media are incensed by the decision.

Covid-19 has shown the people of Europe the importance of having a state with a functioning public health service, education sector, government and agencies. Most countries have coped quite well with the crisis, commentators say, and examine whether this could lead to a long-term change in the relationship between citizens and the state.

In the ongoing process of easing coronavirus restrictions, several European countries have agreed to reopen their borders immediately or in the near future. The European press welcomes this, but some commentators call for clearer criteria and, in the event of future outbreaks, more cooperation in the phase when borders are being closed.

On May 9 the authorities closed the Westfleisch slaughterhouse in Coesfeld, Germany, because 191 employees had become infected with the coronavirus. This fuelled a discussion about the questionable situation of cheap Eastern European workers in Germany's agricultural and food sector, which has now become a problem for society as a whole due to the risk of infection.

The coronavirus has fundamentally changed how we live, with almost all aspects of life, including the economy, work, leisure and education being affected. Many commentators say now is the time to pause and assess the opportunities arising from the crisis and what life after the pandemic could look like.

Brussels has presented recommendations for tourism in the EU this summer: member states should ensure that hygiene and physical distancing rules are observed and that contacts can be tracked. A condition for the resumption of tourism is that the risk of infection is low, there are sufficient tests, and health systems are not overstretched. Can the plan get the sector back on its feet?

The Turkish lira was already under pressure before the coronavirus crisis. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Turkey it has dropped 20 percent, hitting a record low against the dollar last week. President Erdoğan is blaming foreign financial companies. The pro-government press agrees but opposition voices take a very different view.

On Wednesday evening Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte presented the government's coronavirus aid package. The package is called the "Rilancio" (relaunch) and comprises 55 billion euros in funding for businesses, families and the unemployed. The national press is sceptical about the proposed measures.

In most European countries governments have set up emergency programmes of one form or another to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. But is everything possible being done for everyone, and are the programmes effective? Commentators have their doubts.

Countries with particularly liberal economic systems, such as the UK and the US, have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. And although the effects of the crisis on the global economy are being felt everywhere, the global financial markets have so far remained comparatively stable. For commentators, this all highlights the dysfunctional aspects of today's economy.

Weak healthcare systems, huge slums and a lack of infrastructure: all of these factors could cause the coronavirus pandemic to explode in Africa, experts feared. So far, however, relatively few people have been infected and even fewer have died. And as mortality figures are low, there is no indication that the number of unreported cases exceeds current assessments. Commentators point to the continent's underestimated strengths.

More than 200 teams worldwide are working on a coronavirus vaccination. An international donors' conference organised by the EU gathered 7.4 billion euros to make a vaccination, medications and test materials globally available. The US and China did not participate. There is growing concern in the media that competitive thinking could hinder research efforts.

Protests against the restrictions imposed amidst the coronavirus pandemic are taking place in a growing number of European countries. Last weekend saw demonstrations in Germany, the UK, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. Commentators voice understanding for some of the protesters concerns and demands, but warn of the dangers of various different groups coming together at the rallies.

Romania's highest court ruled on Wednesday that fines of up to 4,166 euros for violations of corona restrictions were unconstitutional. The average monthly income in Romania is around 1,100 euros. The country's law enforcement bodies reportedly issued more than 300,000 fines totalling 120 million euros. Is the ruling fair?

The EU Commission is predicting a dramatic 7.7 percent slump in the economy for this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Greece is expected to be the worst hit, with a 9.7 percent downturn, followed by Italy and Spain. Commentators see an unprecedented crisis looming, regardless of how governments react.

After increasingly harsh criticism of the government's plan to hold an election during the pandemic, also from within the party ranks, Poland will not be electing a new president on May 10. The ruling PiS, whose candidate and incumbent Andrzej Duda is considered the favourite, has announced that the election will be held in June instead. But since the constitutionality of cancelling the election is in question, much remains unclear.

The US's accusation that China is lying about the origins of the coronavirus is growing ever louder: according to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo evidence exists that the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan. The World Health Organisation criticised Bejing for not letting a WHO mission into the country but has said it considers the accusations unfounded. Commentators cast a critical look at the US.

Russia currently has the highest number of new infections in Europe. In many places hospitals have become hubs of infection. Medical staff are complaining about a lack of protective equipment, which is causing infections and deaths within their ranks. The press also condemn the situation.

In many countries the coronavirus has spread particularly virulently in care homes. This is especially problematic because Covid-19 often affects the elderly most severely. European media accuse the politicians of dire neglect in this area - and point to other blind spots outside the care homes.

The coronavirus crisis has had a massive impact on transportation. Aircraft have been grounded and the number of passengers on buses and trains has plummeted, while cars and bikes are more popular than ever. Commentators examine which means of transportation will win out and whether the crisis can bring about a transport revolution.

Many states are gradually easing their lockdown measures and trying to work out a roadmap for returning to normality. But a number of commentators argue that going back to the way things were before is not a desirable outcome - and some believe it won't be possible in the near future anyway.

The media are facing a paradox amid the corona crisis: although more and more people are using them to stay up to date on the pandemic, media companies are suffering massive losses due to cancelled advertising. A number of governments are planning bailout programmes. But commentators are not convinced that this will be enough.

Restrictions, easing of restrictions, aid packages: in times of crisis, governments take control of every aspect of public and private life. Commentators discuss whether a strong state is an advantage in a crisis or whether citizens and businesses shouldn't be asking far more questions.

Covid-19 travel restrictions are still in place in most European countries. But with the holiday season fast approaching, above all regions that are heavily dependent on tourism are working on strategies that make rest and recreation possible while maintaining distancing measures. The crisis should also be used to improve the problematic aspects of the tourism industry, commentators stress.

Donald Tusk, the leader of the conservative European People's Party (EPP) and former EU Council President, has called for the presidential election in Poland to be boycotted, arguing that the vote is unconstitutional. The government in Warsaw has been under fire for weeks for going ahead with plans to hold the election on 10 May - albeit entirely by postal vote - despite the pandemic.

The EU member states plan to exercise utmost caution in relaxing the border controls introduced in the corona crisis. Following a video conference with his colleagues, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, acting in his capacity as EU Council President, said: "We all agreed that above all we must prevent new waves of infection". He did not mention any concrete schedule for the opening of borders. This course meets with a mixed response in the press.

The airline industry has been hard hit in the coronavirus crisis. People have stopped flying, leaving airlines and aircraft manufacturers fighting for survival. Governments in many countries are now considering whether to bail out the industry. Commentators look at what's at stake in terms of jobs, passenger rights and climate protection.

Schools across Europe have been closed for weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teachers are trying to supply pupils with schoolwork and materials via the Internet, but conditions for learning at home vary greatly from household to household. An intense debate about how soon children should return to school and how health protection measures and education can be reconciled is unfolding in the media.

China appears to have succeeded in watering down an EU report that clearly listed Beijing's mistakes in the coronavirus crisis. According to the European External Action Service (EEAS) report, government sources in Russia and China have been spreading false information about the pandemic. Commentators discuss the motives behind Beijing's disinformation policy and how Europe should respond.

While many European countries are discussing when and under what conditions football matches can be played again, the Netherlands has become the first major football nation to cancel the professional football season. The clubs there are protesting and one of them is even threatening to sue. Commentators discuss whether protection against Covid-19 is more important than football's function in society.

In mid-April the US magazine Forbes put forward the attention-grabbing thesis that countries led by women have better strategies for dealing with the coronavirus crisis and fewer deaths. This was particularly clear when such countries are compared with the United States and Britain for example, the article said. The thesis is still the subject of fierce debate on social networks and in the media, although some find it unconvincing.

The Netherlands and France have announced that they will provide billions in aid for the airline holding Air France-KLM to get it through the coronavirus crisis. Both countries hold a stake in the company. Dutch commentators voice dismay.

The easing of lockdown measures to contain Covid-19 is bringing a little normality back into daily life in many European countries. Shops are open once more, children are returning to schools, and there are fewer restrictions on outdoor activities. Commentators describe how the human factor is causing problems and surprises in this readjustment phase.

Turkey's Grand National Assembly celebrated its 100th anniversary on Friday. Official ceremonies took place in the First Parliament Building in Ankara, but due to the corona pandemic the customary public celebrations were cancelled. The commemoration was unworthy of this historical occasion, commentators believe.

The Muslim month of fasting is taking place under unusual circumstances this year. Due to the coronavirus crisis mosques in many countries are remaining closed during prayer times, and pilgrimages and public breaking of the fast are forbidden. How can the meaning of Ramadan nonetheless be preserved?

In their video conference on Thursday the EU leaders approved a coronavirus aid package of up to 540 billion euros in loans. Starting in June, the loans will be made available to companies, indebted states and short-time work schemes. Joint coronabonds, however, were rejected. Is this result a sign of cohesion or does it cement the rifts within Europe?

On Saturday Portugal will celebrate its Freedom Day: after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, which brought António de Oliveira Salazar's dictatorship to an end, April 25th became a national holiday. The Portuguese will have to stay at home this year because of the pandemic, but the country's MPs want to hold an official ceremony with 100 people in the parliament. Is this warranted or totally inappropriate?

Only last week the International Monetary Fund predicted the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s due to the coronavirus pandemic. The worldwide economic depression led to mass unemployment and promoted the rise of fascism. Commentators are divided about whether we are menaced by a similar scenario.

Scientists have rarely received as much media attention as they are now in the coronavirus crisis. Leading virologists and epidemiologists as well as the heads of government agencies have become the face of the crisis in their respective countries. Europe's press warn against false expectations and blind trust.

Several European countries are discussing the idea of introducing tracking apps used by citizens on a voluntary basis as a means of enabling a return to normality. These apps, which have already been used in countries like South Korea, would keep users informed about contact with infected persons. Commentators debate whether they are really useful enough to justify the surveillance they entail.

Many people are having to accept financial losses in the coronavirus crisis and there are calls for politicians to also renounce part of their income. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has cut her salary by 20 percent and Austria's ministers plan to each donate one month's salary. Europe's media are divided on whether such sacrifices are a necessary gesture of solidarity.

Another summit of EU leaders aimed at tackling the coronavirus crisis is slated for Thursday. The main topic of discussion will be a common strategy for lifting the pandemic measures and further cushioning the economic impact. But the lack of consensus of recent weeks has not diminished. Commentators call for swift and far-sighted action.

In the throes of the coronavirus pandemic oil prices on the New York Stock Exchange have plunged into the negative for the first time in history. The price of US benchmark WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil for May delivery was minus 37.63 dollars per barrel at the close of trading on Monday. Could the pandemic spell the end of the oil era?

After a few weeks of lockdown doubts about the appropriateness of various measures have been expressed in many European countries. Is a comprehensive ban on demonstrations really justified? And what about the freedom of movement? Europe's press calls for careful reflection on the anti-democratic pitfalls of health protection.

Millions of Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter this weekend. The coronavirus crisis also left its mark on these celebrations. Services were held in empty churches and the faithful stayed at home. Media in Greece, Romania and Russia draw their conclusions regarding this unusual Easter.

More and more European countries are beginning to ease their lockdown measures. Since Saturday Spaniards are allowed to go for a walk again at certain times of the day based on age groups. And the Greeks no longer need to show a permit sent by text message when they want to venture outside of their homes. Commentators reflect on whether life will now go back to how it was before the Covid-19 pandemic.

After being forced to postpone the negotiations due to coronavirus, the EU and Britain are resuming the efforts to define their post-Brexit relations this week. London does not want to extend the transitional period for leaving the EU which is scheduled to end on 31 December. Media discuss whether this is a responsible position in view of the current battle against the repercussions of the pandemic.

Lombardy is the beating heart of Italy's economy but it is currently one of the regions hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic at a global level. On Saturday alone, 94 percent of new SARS-CoV-2 infections in Italy were registered there. The Italian press examines the reasons.

The battle against the coronavirus pandemic and the discussion about easing the restrictions have morphed into a generation conflict: on the one side the health of the old and the weak, on the other the wellbeing and economic survival of younger generations. Europe's media see this as an almost unsolvable moral dilemma.

President Trump on Tuesday put US contributions to the World Health Organization on hold pending a review of the role played by the WHO in the "poor handling and cover-up of the spread of coronavirus". Commentators find criticism of the organisation appropriate but take very different views of Trump's decision.

Churchgoers in Romania were to be able to pick up blessed bread outside churches for Orthodox Easter, despite the coronavirus. Now Interior Minister Vela has backpedalled in the wake of harsh criticism. Instead the bread and "holy fire" are to be brought to people's homes on request. For the press this is the only sensible decision, despite the importance attached to Easter in Romania.

The Italian government has announced that it will not accept 39 billion euros from the EU's coronavirus rescue package. Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Antonio Misiani said his country would only use the aid for short-time work schemes and the loans from the European Investment Bank. What is behind this rejection?

In his fourth televised address on the corona crisis, French President Macron on Monday night admitted mistakes in the efforts to fight the pandemic. In recent weeks the government has been heavily criticised for poor crisis management, failing to provide sufficient protective equipment, delays and contradictions. Journalists take different views of the speech.

Calls for an unconditional basic income to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic are growing louder. Spain's government says it is already planning the introduction of a lifelong basic income for all. Commentators discuss whether the measure makes sense and how it can be financed.

As the focus of global debate slowly shifts from curbing the coronavirus to how to end the social and economic restrictions, previously dominant "green" issues such as climate protection seem to have disappeared from the political and social agenda. Europe's press stresses in unison that these issues are no less urgent than they were before - on the contrary.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted that the coronavirus pandemic will spark the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. GDPs are set to shrink by 7.5 percent in the Eurozone and around three percent globally. Europe's press voices concern and discusses the consequences.

Observers note that the pandemic seems to be exacerbating the conflict between the generations. The coronavirus meme "boomer remover" - an allusion to the fact that older people are among the main risk groups - has been circulating on social networks, sparking outrage in the media.

There have been repeated warnings about the potential impact of Covid-19 in African states on the grounds that HealthCare systems there are particularly ill-equipped to deal with the pandemic. Commentators refute this view and denounce racist attitudes in the discussion about the illness.

Coronavirus restrictions are leading to a shortage of hundreds of thousands of harvest workers from abroad. Despite the restrictions, specially authorised planes carrying seasonal workers from Romania have been landing in Germany for the past two weeks. Images from the Romanian city of Cluj made negative headlines when around 2,000 passengers waiting for flights formed a large crowd outside its airport on April 9. Is something fundamentally wrong in the farming industry?

Shortly before Easter the EU finance ministers adopted the largest rescue package in the history of the bloc: 540 billion euros are to be made available in the form of loans to businesses and states as well as to support unemployment funds. The controversial coronabonds are, however, off the table for the time being. Commentators are for the most part sceptical about the deal.

In 2018 only 15 percent of employees in the EU worked from home. That figure has risen dramatically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Commentators outline the challenges of working within one's own four walls.

The restrictions of social distancing are making it difficult for people to come into contact with one another. Especially those who have neither a partner nor family are feeling increasingly isolated. But the pandemic is also not without consequences for relationships between couples and friends. Commentators describe a world without physical contact caught between fatalism, longing and hope.

Easter, the most important Christian celebration, is just around the corner, but this year things will be very different. As a result of curfews and social distancing, church doors will remain closed and services will not take place. The churches have resorted to online services and the Pope will also stream live from Rome. Media discuss the shutdown's impact on believers.

While some European countries have made wearing a face mask mandatory for shopping or going out in public in general, other governments are hesitating to introduce such rules due to doubts about their efficacy and lacking availability. Some states are now planning to lift the requirement altogether. So the mask remains a hot topic in the media.

In the battle against the novel coronavirus almost every state is relying on restrictive measures that limit the freedoms of their citizens. However some have gone further than others. Journalists discuss whether dictatorships are growing stronger under the guise of fighting the pandemic or whether authoritarian rulers will eventually have to realise that they are powerless against the virus.

Austria's government plans to start gradually easing the lockdown next week. Smaller shops and handicraft businesses will be able to open under certain conditions, with more to follow in May. While some media warn against the move, others see it as the result of a responsible policy.

EU finance ministers will on Tuesday once again discuss the introduction of joint bonds in a bid to mitigate the economic consequences of the corona crisis. Italy and Spain are strong advocates of such eurobonds, while Germany and the Netherlands have so far rejected them. Commentators warn that the EU could run aground over this issue.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is ill with Covid-19, was transferred to intensive care on Monday evening. The 55-year-old's state of health had deteriorated, a statement said. Johnson's negligence in dealing with the coronavirus threat has put himself and his country in danger, the media fear.

In a televised address Queen Elizabeth has called on the British to be strong in face of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that she hopes that in the years to come people will be proud of how they faced this challenge. The queen normally only addresses the nation in her Christmas speech. But this message was more than worthwhile, journalists concur.

Austria has taken the initiative and began easing its lockdown measures for containing the coronavirus on Tuesday. Plans for an exit strategy from the restrictions are also being made in other European countries. Journalists discuss when such steps can be taken and what dilemmas societies face.

The EU Commission has announced the introduction of a short time work scheme aimed at enabling companies that have had to discontinue or reduce their production because of the coronavirus crisis to continue to employ their workers. The Commission plans to take out 100 billion in loans to finance the measure. Not all media are convinced that this is a genuine display of solidarity.

Romania's healthcare system was suffering from brain drain even before the corona crisis. Now the country is also suffering from massive shortages of protective equipment. Local media report that medical staff are refusing to work in some hospitals. Is this understandable or irresponsible? National media take different views.

Instead of imposing a nationwide curfew as expected, Erdoğan on Tuesday announced a "Campaign of National Solidarity", calling on citizens to make donations to all those who lose their jobs as a result of the corona pandemic. Critics fear that the money will end up mostly in the pockets of pro-government companies. Turkish media are divided along the usual lines in their assessment of the measure.

In many European countries, school pupils have been taught online at home for several weeks because schools were closed in the efforts to fight the pandemic. But not all children have a computer of their own, or even access to the Internet. European media stress that this has exacerbated social inequalities, but also urge caution in the process of reopening schools.

Throughout Europe countries are running out of protective face masks, most of which are produced in China. Germany imposed an export ban at the beginning of March and now the Czech Republic has followed suit. In France all stocks were confiscated so they could be distributed to health workers. Commentators discuss ways to deal with the shortages.

Most of the European countries that already have lockdown restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic have extended them until Easter or shortly thereafter. However experts and many commentators expect the more or less strict lockdowns to continue beyond that point - and are looking at how to tackle this challenging situation.

The corona crisis is also shaking up international politics. Conflicting parties are suddenly confronting the same threat and long-established alliances are being called into question. Journalists discuss what radical changes could persist even after the pandemic.

Poland is sticking to its plan of holding presidental elections on 10 May. The parliament in Warsaw made the decision on Monday on the basis of the crisis law passed at the end of March. Although all Poles rather than (as the government had originally planned) just those over 60, who are mostly PiS voters, will now vote by mail, criticism is rife among commentators.

EU Commission President von der Leyen has warned EU states against disproportionate crisis measures. With its approval of an emergency law, Hungary's parliament had previously given Prime Minister Orbán power to govern by decree for an unlimited time. Europe's press is worried that the model could set a precedent and demands swift action from Brussels.

Covid-19 is also confronting the US with a sad reality: there have now been more than 2,400 fatalities and over 140,000 confirmed cases. President Trump, who had talked of lifting containment measures such as social distancing before Easter, has now announced that they will be extended until April 30. But according to commentators the country is appallingly ill-equipped for such a crisis.

Measures to stop the spread of Sars-Cov-2 are facing people with unprecedented challenges. Some are trying to juggle work at home with childcare, while others are worried about losing their entire livelihood. Commentators reflect on the long-term consequences of the state of emergency and how states should react.

The leaders of the G20 states have agreed in a video conference to invest 4.5 trillion euros in the global economy and expand production of medical supplies. Appeals to show greater solidarity with the countries of the Southern Hemisphere, however, were left unaddressed. Commentators push for concrete action.

The curfews in many European countries are mainly aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus. Because if too many people fall ill at the same time, even an optimal system will collapse sooner or later. But the systems in many states are far from perfect, commentators note with some bitterness.

Not only US President Trump but also European politicians and scientists are already thinking out loud about easing the restrictions to contain Covid-19 and calling for corresponding strategies. The days after Easter are being mentioned as the time to start relaxing the measures. Commentators wonder whether such demands are not a little premature.

All over the world curfews and business closures are posing a challenge for society. Many people are showing solidarity with others in new ways: doing shopping for people they didn't know before and offering words of encouragement. At the same time there is growing distrust of those who - actually or allegedly - break the rules.

Russian authorities have reacted angrily to media reports that Russia's comparatively low Covid-19 mortality rate was the result of skewed numbers. Now, official data appears to support the criticism, but it remains unclear whether the numbers were deliberately manipulated or simply the result of careless recording. What to make of the affair?

Only two months have passed since the first Sars-CoV-2 infection was discovered in Europe but the virus has already caused major economic damage and brought radical changes to daily life. Governments are discussing appropriate aid packages and Eurobonds. The market cannot regulate itself in times of crisis, some argue. Others warn against protectionism or voice hopes for the creation of a whole new system.

Despite a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in the US, President Trump has said he wants to ease the social distancing measures soon, arguing that a recession would kill more people than the Covid-19 pandemic. "We can't let the cure be worse than the problem," he said in an interview with TV channel Fox News. Is he right?

From the beginning, Sweden refrained from adopting tough measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Its borders and primary schools have remained open and there are no restrictions on leaving home. However in view of the rising mortality rate critical voices are growing louder, also in Sweden. The divided opinions on the approach are reflected in the media.

The 27 EU states have postponed taking a decision on the introduction of Eurobonds as a joint instrument for tackling the economic consequences of the corona crisis. While Italy and Spain are urgently demanding "corona bonds", countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Austria oppose the idea. Commentators analyse the background and implications of the conflict.

The corona crisis is challenging certainties everywhere. What will our daily lives look like a few months from now? Will the world order collapse, or will the repercussions of the virus be manageable? Commentators also ask whether society will be different after the pandemic - and whether this is a desirable outcome.

Public life in Italy has been shut down for two weeks. In view of the Corona pandemic, disputes between the government and the opposition had initially died down. But when Prime Minister Conte recently decreed an almost complete shutdown of the economy, Lega chief Matteo Salvini in particular responded by calling for Parliament to be more involved in the decision making. Is he right?

Today, Maundy Thursday, the finance ministers of the Eurogroup will make another attempt at reaching an agreement on a comprehensive coronavirus rescue package. The main bone of contention is whether the package should include so-called coronabonds in addition to easier credit terms, a guarantee fund and a short-time work scheme. The press discusses what the EU's strategy for managing the crisis should be - also beyond money issues.

Only a minority of European countries are still relying on recommendations and voluntary social distancing measures in the corona crisis. Most have implemented varying degrees of lockdown and in many cases declared a state of emergency. Commentators warn against the erosion of the rule of law.

People standing at windows and balconies and applauding medical staff has become a gesture of solidarity during the corona crisis. But it's not just hospital staff who are being seen in a new light. The restrictions of lockdown are prompting commentators to reflect on which professions are most important for society.

The Hungarian government presented a draft law on Friday that, if passed, would enable it to rule by decree for an unlimited period. Budapest would be able to extend the state of emergency declared on 11 March over the Covid-19 pandemic without parliament's approval. Currently the state of emergency is revised by parliament every 15 days. What motives are behind the initiative?

Plays, concerts, readings: cultural life has also been forced to take a break in order to slow the spread of the virus. But many artists are finding creative, mostly digital ways of making their art audible and visible. Commentators applaud their efforts.

In Italy, the European country worst hit by the corona crisis, the government has once again stepped up measures to contain the virus. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on the weekend that all businesses except those that guarantee essential goods and services must now close. The press wonders if this is the right approaach.

The fight against the coronavirus is imposing considerable constraints and burdens on everyone. Politicians and celebrities are calling for social cohesion and solidarity - but some people seem to feel these calls don't apply to them. The media debate who bears which responsibilities in this crisis.

So far not a single case of Covid-19 has been registered in the hotspots on the Aegean Islands. Nonetheless, stringent measures now also apply for the refugees living there. Now only a single family member is allowed to do the shopping. And health stations are to be set up to deal with cases of infection. NGOs, however, are calling for the camps to be evacuated - and commentators agree.

To combat the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic the ECB has announced plans to spend another 750 billion euros on bond purchases. This comes after last week's announcement that it would invest 120 billion euros in bond-buying. The measure is aimed at lowering the interest rates at which states and companies can borrow money. Is this the right response to the crisis?

Many countries have declared a state of emergency and imposed curfews in a bid to combat the spread of the corona pandemic. In Italy, Spain, France, Belgium and Denmark, for example, citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for urgent reasons.

Isolated at home from one day to the next, millions of people in Europe are having to adapt to radically changed living conditions. And even where freedom of movement is not yet restricted, many people are voluntarily isolating themselves to slow the spread of coronavirus. Journalists encourage readers to make the best of the situation.

As the coronavirus spreads from Wuhan to the rest of the world, China's goverment claims its drastic measures have brought it under control there. Businesses in the affected areas are now opening once more and Beijing is presenting itself as an expert advisor and sending medical supplies to other parts of the world. Politicians and the press debate whether China can serve as a role model for Europe.

European leaders agreed on Tuesday to close the EU's external borders so as to contain Covid-19. The entry ban will initially apply for 30 days. In addition, EU Council President Charles Michel assured European businesses that "whatever it takes" would be done to cushion the impact of the crisis. Commentators are unanimous that so far the EU hasn't cut a good figure in its efforts to fight the pandemic.

In a bid to combat the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the ECB has announced new loans to banks to support the flow of credit into the economy, but has left the base interest rate unchanged. Brussels has announced a financial aid package of 7.5 billion euros, which is to be increased to 25 billion later on. Commentators have doubts about whether these measures will be adequate.

A number of measures have been taken by both states and private individuals around the world to combat SARS-CoV-2, including major restrictions on travel, production and transport. This has led to a significant reduction in negative environmental influences in many places. But commentators don't believe the measures will stop climate change in the long term.

Italy's government has expanded the lockdown of 15 provinces in the "red zone" in the north to the whole country in a bid to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. All public institutions are closed and all sport events have been cancelled. The death toll has climbed to more than 460. Commentators say the country's citizens also share responsibility for this drastic step.

The Covid-19 pandemic is putting a major strain on Europe's healthcare systems and economies: hospitals are having to turn away patients, schools and cultural institutions are being closed and entire business sectors are crippled, posing a challenge for the population as a whole. Commentators examine how the virus is changing how politicians, entrepreneurs and citizens think and act.

According to the WHO coronavirus has now spread to more than 87 countries and around 98,000 cases have been registered worldwide. Infection numbers are rising daily in Europe, where more than 150 people have died of the virus, most of them in Italy. Europe's press wonders how the epidemic will alter our societies and our future.

In view of the rapid spread of coronavirus in Italy, the government in Rome is meeting with representatives from neighbouring countries Slovenia, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany to discuss what further measures should be taken. The number of infections now exceeds 220. Commentaries range from cool-headed reflection to borderline panic.

Coronavirus continues to spread, with the number of registered cases in Italy having risen to more than 320. Many observers fear the epidemic will also cause major economic damage due to production losses, disrupted supply chains and a decline in consumption. Others sense opportunities amid the dangers.

Beijing on Tuesday demanded an apology from Jyllands-Posten after the Danish newspaper published a satirical drawing featuring a Chinese flag with each of the stars depicted as coronaviruses. Stockholm had already summoned China's ambassador in mid-January for repeatedly trying to put pressure on public television broadcasters and newspapers. Danish and Swedish media agree that they must not give in to the Chinese on this issue.

Coronavirus, the first cases of which were discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, continues to spread across the globe. So far more than 42,000 cases of infection and 1,113 deaths have been registered. European media praise China for its exemplary commitment to fighting the disease despite widespread criticism and examine unexpected side effects.